In my twenties, I made fun of women who had plastic surgery. My mother's friends were starting to quietly get a few nips and tucks and I vowed I would age gracefully and gratefully; I would be proud of my wrinkles. Any lines on my face would be badges of honor, I proclaimed with all the fervor of youth.
Annoying fervor of youth.
In my thirties, blessed with the clear, fair-skinned genetics of my mother and grandmother, I still pooh-poohed plastic surgery. After all, I was regularly carded in my late thirties, with people thinking I was my children's older sister. Obviously, I was going to be one of those women who age well. Oh yes, I was filled with the self-righteous hubris that is fueled by a complete disconnect with reality.
And then I hit forty.
Suddenly, the creases under my eyes that once went away after a good night's sleep were permanent. Suddenly, I was willing to listen to the discussions among my friends of the latest injectables and surgical treatments. My prideful disdain disappeared between one stick of concealer and the next.
Apparently, I'm not the only one.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic plastic surgery is on the rise. Overall, there was a 2 percent increase in all cosmetic surgical procedures, with nearly 1.6 million procedures performed in 2011.
But that's nothing compared to the number of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures being done. According to the ASPS,
Cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures increased 6 percent, with nearly 12.2 million procedures in 2011.
Soft tissue fillers like hyaluronic acid (Restylane®, Juvederm Ultra®, etc.), calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse®), and fat injections experienced some of the largest growth in the minimally-invasive market during 2011. More than 1.3 million hylauronic acid procedures were performed in 2011, up 9 percent; 286,000 calcium hydroxylapatite procedures, up 36 percent; and 68,000 fat injections, up 19 percent.
This is the good stuff, my friends. The creases around your mouth? They can fix that. The permanent furrow between your eyes? No problem. Those nasty wrinkles (Laugh lines? Do you see me laughing?) that don't go away after a good night's rest? GONE.
GONE. GONE. GONE.
The lure of smoother skin is a siren call I always thought I'd be able to resist. What once seemed like a moral failing- we should be grateful for every year, every wrinkle is hard earned, yadda yadda blah blah blah- now seems like a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Does this make me vain? Shallow? Perhaps. Or, maybe that twenty-something who scorned cosmetic surgery didn't know what she was talking about. Aren't we supposed to learn as we grow older? Improve ourselves? Yes, age brings wrinkles...and wisdom, too.
A friend of mine is in the public eye, and she's my go-to expert on the latest and greatest in cosmetic procedures. As a woman in her profession, she feels the pressure to look young and fresh-faced. "I don't want to look 30 again," she says. "I just want to look the best I can." Sounds good to me.
And if we're honest, don't many of us have a secret list of things we'd "fix" if we had the courage/time/money? I sure do. I'm not quite ready, yet, but when I do (and it's a question of when, not if) get injected or lifted or botoxed, I'm not going to be ashamed about it. Not one little damn bit.